Please name, and give a brief history, of great coin hoards...

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We all know about the Randall hoard and the Binion hoard (OK, not all, but you know what I mean), but what are some of the other great coin hoards in numismatic history, in particular, those that focused on a particular coin?

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The Continental-Illinois National Bank Hoard.


The grand-daddy of all coin hoards, and the leading example of a successful hoard dispersal in all senses of the term, must be the Continental-Illinois National Bank hoard of silver dollars in the early 1980s.


Banks are required by federal law to keep a certain percentage of their “deposits” in cash at all times as one of their federal reserve requirements. For more than a century, it seems, the Continental-Illinois National Bank in Chicago kept a portion of its reserves in original mint bags of silver dollars.


Because of the bank’s financial difficulties in the early 1980s, the Board of Directors of the bank decided to sell the bags for the significant profit that they were worth over their face value, to help soften the financial crisis that so many banks were facing at the time.


Beginning in 1982 and lasting for several years, as many as 1,000 original bags of brilliant uncirculated Morgan silver dollars, and another 500 bags of circulated silver dollar, came out of this hoard. That means more than 1.5 million coins! The majority were common dates: 1879-S, 1880-S, 1881-S, 1882-S, 1883-O, 1884-O, 1885-O, 1886-P and 1887-P. There were a dozen or so bags each of 1883-P and 1884-P and a few more single bags of some other dates. Beyond the sheer numbers, the condition of the coins was remarkable. Many from this hoard were absolutely breathtaking gems, exhibiting incredible cartwheel luster, magnificent rainbow toning, and outstanding proof-like strikes.


Marketing of the Continental-Illinois National Bank hoard was handled in model fashion. From the very start, the two or three major retailers who were charged with organizing the dispersal understood that the greatest benefit to all would be obtained by utilizing the abilities of the entire industry, wholesalers and retailers alike. By establishing an extremely wide distribution channel, they could rely upon the grass-roots marketing efforts of mail order and storefront dealers, and millions of customers would be reached directly. The combination of product, story, and price was a perfect fit for them. Extraordinary demand was created, and because so much of the industry was involved, the after-market support was firmly in place and demand for the hoard coins continued to build.


As a result of this successful dispersal strategy, the entire silver dollar market grew for the next five years. From 1982 to 1985, for example, Morgan Silver Dollars in MS 65 increased in average value by 450%! Collectors and investors alike were happy, and the hobby enjoyed a wonderful resurgence.

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The Redfield Hoard


There is not a great deal of information on LaVere Redfield. He was born somewhere around the turn of the 20th century. When he died in 1974, his estate was worth about $100 million, and in the basement of his modest home, behind a false wall was a hoard of over 411,000 silver dollars. Most of the silver dollars were Morgan Dollars, and to a much lesser extent there were Peace Dollars too. Many of them were still in their original Mint bags. Just to give one a concept of 411,000 silver dollars; it is a weight of about 11-tons.


LaVere Redfield has been called thrifty and frugal, and has been described as colorful, a character, or eccentric. He had a great mistrust of banks, paper currency, and the government. After the Stock Market Crash of 1929, Redfield arrives in Los Angeles, CA with his life's savings, and had decided it was a good time to invest in Oil and Stocks. He bought the kind of Stocks no one wanted, and he made a fortune. From California, Redfield moved to Reno, Nevada, and began to invest in Real Estate. He would take as much of his liquid assets as possible and convert it into silver dollars whenever possible. That is most likely why he moved to Reno. With all the Casinos using silver Dollars, the Banks

always had a ready supply. Also, his mistrust of the government had him

embroiled in a running feud with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) which

finally earned him prison time in 1960.It is estimated that at one time LaVere Redfield had amassed over 600,000 silver dollars.


In 1963, his house was burglarized, and it was reported

that approximately 100,000 of the silver dollars were stolen. That is

probably what encouraged him to build a false wall in front of his coal bin.

That way, the only thing he had to do was to just drop the bags down the Coal Shute.


When Redfield died, the IRS audited the estate. While searching the Redfield home, the false wall was discovered and removed. One source reports that the false wall was discovered through a note found by an IRS agent. The note told of the hoard, and asked the discoverer not to alert the IRS. Behind the wall was 400 bags of silver dollars, most of which had been sitting there for decades.

We are told that the exact inventory of the Redfield Hoard of silver dollars

has never been revealed. A number exceeding 351,000 of the silver coins

found, were uncirculated.


When the coins were put up for auction, there

were so many coins the lot could not be properly examined by the potential

bidders, and when the hammer fell Steve Markoff of A-Mark Corporation purchased the entire lot for $7.3 million. It has since been estimated that the wholesale value of the Redfield Hoard of silver dollars was about $20 million. So as to not flood the Coin Market with this huge number of coins, Markoff utilized a three-year liquidation plan with a well thought out marketing campaign. That way the Coin Industry would see only a minimal effect, if any, by these coins being retailed to collectors.


Several major Coin Dealers handled the retail sales of the Redfield Hoard. The most notable of these was Paramount International Coin Corporation in Ohio. This

company packaged the Redfield silver dollars in a hard plastic holder with a

cardboard label surrounding the coin reading either "A Silver Dollar from the Redfield Collection," or "US Silver Dollar, Paramount International Coin Corp."


Most of the coins in the Redfield Hoard were Morgan Silver Dollars.

Some of the more notable dates of Morgan Dollars found in this hoard are:

1892-P, 1893-P, 1879-CC, 1889-CC, 1895-S and the 1903-S. The most notable of the Peace Dollars found in the hoard was the 1925-S.

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As their are far more coin hoards than I ever imagined upon searching, I will name the Economite Treasure Hoard of 1878 in Economy, PA. A Utopian work-share community called The Harmony Society built a building over top of a subterranean storage area which in it was found $75,000 face value of sivler coins-this info was from the 2007 US Coins RED BOOK.

Another piece of information that I was unaware of was a piece of legislation regarding hoards was passed and called The Treasure Act of 1996 and is as follows:



The Treasure Act of 1996 is a piece of legislation designed to deal with finds of treasure. It legally obliges finders of objects which constitute a legally defined term of treasure to report their find to their local CORONER within fourteen days. An inquiry led by the CORONER(everyone else is too busy) then determines whether the find constitutes treasure or not. If it is declared to be treasure then the owner must offer the item for sale to a museum at a price set by an independent board of antiquities experts. Only if no museum expresses an interest in the item or is unable to purchase it can the owner retain it.


'Treasure' is defined as being:


All coins from the same hoard. A hoard is defined as two or more coins, as long as they are at least 300 years old when found. If they contain less than 10% gold or silver there must be at least 10 in the hoard for it to qualify.

Two or more prehistoric base metal objects in association with one another

Any individual (non-coin) find that is at least 300 years old and contains at least 10% gold or silver.

Associated finds: any object of any material found in the same place as (or which had previously been together with) another object which is deemed treasure.

Objects substantially made from gold or silver but are less than 300 years old, that have been deliberately hidden with the intention of recovery and whose owners or heirs are unknown.


This kind of surprised me as I did not realize that enough was being found to warrant a piece of legislation. 893scratchchin-thumb.gif

Museum's actually have a LOBBY! foreheadslap.gif Who woulda thunk it!

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I seem to recall that there have been hoards of 1801 large-cents, 1796 quarters, 1806 half-cents, 1828 half-cents, and of course there were the GSA hoards. Anyone recognize any of these (or something close)? Any hoards of a gold coins come to mind?

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Thanks for reminding of GSA hoard, Jim, I remember trying to purchase some of them,

without success i might add, back when they were first offered by General service admn. sorry.gifthumbsup2.gif

Edited by rrantique
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It has since been estimated that the wholesale value of the Redfield Hoard of silver dollars was about $20 million.


Is that based on the grades they holdered them at? 893naughty-thumb.gif


From what I've seen the Redfield Hoard had a lot of junk in it. By that I mean common to semi-common silver dollars with lots of bag marks. Of course that did not stop the original promoters from packaging the coins in an early type of slab with "MS-65" marked on them. A lot of the “MS-65” coins were not better than MS-63 and many of them were not even that good, even by the standards of the day. devil.gif


Of course the quality of the Redfield coins were not improved when some bozo ran them through a counting machine. frustrated.gif

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What a great thread.

Most of my stories come from way back but I have a few. smile.gif


One of my best friends is close to 90 at this point.

We have really told some stories over the years but this one, we will always hold at being true.


There was a banker in a small town in Texas that owned the bank and was also a collector. He had an unc roll of everything except gold coins, of every date and mint mark from 1916 to about 1955. His banker friends in other places helped him keep his roll collection complete.


He would take young collectors and other folks to the vault to show his set. He was a really fine man and a teacher of the hobby.


Where this great treasure is today is beyond me but it was the real deal. cloud9.gif

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Bruce i seem to recall something about that but for the life of me can't remember sorry.gif


Seems like it was Midland or Odessa area though confused-smiley-013.gif

Edited by rrantique
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Found this coin on ebay from the Reno hoard just thaught i should post it hear i question the grading of the coin 893scratchchin-thumb.gif BU i think not !!!




nasty dings on her face




Edited by dooly
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